THE full utilisation of the social partnership can help solve several of the economic and social issues facing this island. The Barbados Private Sector Association highlighted that a major area where the island was falling down was that it was not tapping into the intellectual potential of its people, both at home and abroad.

Stressing that the island was now facing the most prolonged socio-economic crisis since its Independence, the BSPA said that the resolution of present issues would require everyone to make some sacrifice, a fact that was not beyond the country’s capability.

“If we change nothing, then we shall have a situation that invites everyone to break for themselves. This is a recipe for disaster,” the association said in a statement. In addition, it highlighted that now was not the time for divide. “It goes without saying that this is no time for partisan political thinking or advantage seeking by the private sector and the trade unions.

This is a time to analyse and tackle all our difficulties objectively and collectively and to do so in that same spirit of cooperation which served us well in not dissimilar circumstances 25 years ago when we correctly rejected devaluation, and fixed our foreign exchange and deficit problems,” it added.

Underlining several of the issues affecting the economy including: a lack of confidence of investors, lenders and entrepreneurs, the printing of money and an unsustainable fiscal deficit, low levels of productivity across all sectors of the economy and the costs associated with inordinate delays and processes in the judicial system, to name a few, the BPSA made several suggestions both for the short and long term.

Claiming an underutilization of the social partnership, it stated that government should initiate discussion on each of the major issues besetting the economy, debate the policy options, and thus derive the benefit of making use of that facility before embarking upon any further or additional fiscal policies and infrastructural priorities.

“Any policies and proposed changes once determined by Government should then be explained to the Social Partnership in sufficient clarity so that the success in implementation can be assisted at that level. In addition, the rationale of what has been decided should be made known to the public,” it added.

While advocating for the establishment of a broadly constituted Oversight Committee, with the purpose of monitoring the fiscal, monetary and quantitative targets set by the government to ensure they are met and to advise on any necessary remedial action, the BPSA also called for the implementation of the Efficiency Committees of the Social Partnership to monitor public sector reform with the goal of producing a more efficient and delivery-focussed civil service.

Article compliments the Barbados Advocate.

Please see the following statement from the Barbados Private Sector Association, which was issued to the media on Friday, February 10th, 2017.

Click BPSA Revised Statement to view.